Chaucer and the Subject of History.
Pp. 392-97: The Confession scene revises earlier forms of the penitential process in which sins are presented as deeds or habits; to WL they are symptoms of an inward condition. In the confession of the sins we see the transformation from the old self as it is extinguished in the words spoken; yet the transformation is thwarted as the “suffering that is sin itself preempts and absorbs the contritional impulse,” and sin destroys its own cure. But 3even 3eld-a3eyn and Robert the Ryfeler show through their repentance that despair can be overcome.
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.